LETTER: Montesano Food Bank stats

Dear Editor,

When people discover that you volunteer at the food bank some of the questions that get asked are summed up by the following:Are you seeing new families; How many families do you serve on a regular basis; How much food do you distribute and of that how much is donated?

Certainly, there are more questions asked, but this seems to cover the top three. As a result, I want to answer these questions and provide you some information that we gathered over the past year.

Yes, we are seeing new families. We saw a total of 144 new families this past year, so we are averaging 12 new families each month. Over the course of this past year we provided services to 2,103 total households. When you break down that down it represents 6,579 total people served. Our families average about three per household.

We get most of our donated food through two major sources, Coastal Harvest and Northwest Harvest. We received a total of just under 95,000 pounds of food from them. In addition, we get local donations and the proceeds from the Food Bowl. That puts us up over 100,000 pounds or 50 tons. In addition to this, we spent well over $3,000 a month in expenses. That is up significantly over last year.

That’s a lot of information to decipher, but you would be amazed at the variety and volume of food that is distributed each month.

There are several local farmers and gardeners who provide fresh fruit and produce during the growing season. At times, we may qualify as a farm stand. We get apples, pears, plums, blueberries, assorted greens, zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers. It is amazing how the community bands together to share their surplus.

We have about 20 volunteers who help out at the food bank. Last year our group served up a total of nearly 2,300 hours. Now please keep in mind, we have no paid staff, everyone is a volunteer. I am going on 70 years old and I am one of the younger ones. We have an amazing group who have worked together for years and we are always looking for more helpers.

I hope this answered some of the questions. When I first started helping at the food bank I had no idea what to expect. It wasn’t long to realize that this is a big operation run by some very dedicated and extraordinary people.

If any of you would like to come in and see for yourself, please give me a call and I will show you around our facility. Just call (360) 249-5374 and ask for Doug.

Doug Iverson

Montesano Food Bank